Lonesome Dove Executive Chef Jason Scott once wrote in his personal notebook, “If you cook with passion in your heart, success will always follow.” No coincidence that he has “passion” tattooed in red on the inside of his right bicep and “success” in Kelly green on his left.
Scott, 43, was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. At the age of three, his dad got a security job at the Kennedy Space Center and moved the family to Florida. Scott’s stepfather shared his love of Louisiana gumbos and etouffees. “He used to say, ‘It’s all about the roue.’ He helped me decide that this is what I want to do with my life.”
Scott started off washing dishes at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Merritt Island under owner Buzz Karnbach. “He gave me a chance on the line,” Scott says. “He developed my work ethic: put your head down and work; be reliable; be humble.” At Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando, Scott was inspired by instructors like Jason Shenefield: “They have such passion for what they do, from meat fabrication to preparing sauces.”
Seven years ago, Scott moved to Knoxville. He was a catering chef with Aramark at UT for four years, then started as a sous chef at Lonesome Dove and worked his way up. His wife, Kerri, is a paralegal. “She’s my rock, my partner in crime,” Scott says. “We have a 2-year-old, Jayse. He is my inspiration. Before you have kids, you work for yourself. Now, I’m working for him.”
Appetizer: Citrus diver scallop croudo served with pickled serrano peppers, radish topped with fresh lemon preserves, paired with a Nik Weiss Reisling
Entrée: Sage and rosemary elk chops served with a gruyere brie dauphinoise potato and a pomegranate gastrique sauce, paired with a Ken Wright Pinot Noir
Dessert: Cannoli affogato served in a semi-sweet chocolate bowl topped with an espresso bourbon sauce and fried pastry dough, paired with a frozen shot of Tuaca